Tag Archives: photography

Around Asia – Indonesia (Day 2: Borobodur, Prambanan)

Today marks the official start of our trip. At 4am, we met our tour operator Salim for the first time. Finally, there is a face to the person I have been e-mailing with for the past few days.


From Yogyakarta, we drove for an 1 hour to reach Manohara Resort. As a tip, you can opt to stay here as the Borobudur Temple complex is right inside the resort grounds. They also have discounted rates if you are staying there.


We were one of the first guests that arrived at the resort. While waiting, we had a chitchat with Salim and our driver Yahia (Sorry, but I am not sure how to spell your name). It was nice to know that we were in good company after we got to know them more.


It was almost 6am when we started lining up to head to the entrance of the temple complex. We were each given a flashlight that you will only use for a few minutes to climb up the temple stairs.




As we reached our vantage point, I did not expect the huge amount of tourists that visit the temple during sunrise. We had a difficult time finding a decent spot as there will be a blockade from a fellow traveler wherever you position yourself. This was definitely a turn off for me and it somewhat degraded the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.




After sunrise is where it becomes better. Most tourists will be moving around the complex giving you more space. As time passes, there will be less and less people around as well. This gave me an opportunity to take a few decent shots of the stupas. Maybe next time, I can just stay behind the complex before sunrise. This way, I can take a clear shot of the complex from the back.

Don’t get me wrong but going here should be in everyone’s travel bucket list. Definitely one of the best, if not the best, Buddhist temple I have seen. It’s sheer size, symmetry and design is  mind boggling. Just google some aerial shots of this place and you will be amazed!


From Borobodur, we headed back to Yogyakarta to have our breakfast and checkout from our hotel. We then went for a quick stop to visit another UNESCO site – Parambanan Temple.



Also another must-see temple to visit. Although, I prefer Borobudur a lot more than this other temple. Prambanan looks very similar to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. And just like the latter (when we visited back in 2012), it was also under construction during the time we visited.


From here, we went back on the road to what will be the longest land travel of our Asia trip. Our next stop was to head towards the city of Probolinngo.




Hanoi (Day 1 ½: Hanoi at Night, Old Quarter, El Gaucho Steakhouse)

After our afternoon tour around the city, we went back to Essence Palace Hotel to avail our free massage at Essence Spa. The spa is situated in Essence d’Orient Hotel & Spa which is just a walking distance away from our hotel. As the name implies, both hotels are from the same group of companies.



From our wonderful spa experience, we took a rickshaw to take us around the Old Quarter to get to our dinner place.


Quite frankly, our afternoon experience was just okay. But once we headed out at night, we started to feel more into the trip.



I did not expect this part of Hanoi to be even more beautiful at night.


We even passed by Sofitel Legend Metropole which even looked more grand in the evening.


For dinner, we made a reservation at El Gaucho which is a popular Argentinian steakhouse in Hanoi.




From our beef soup to wagyu tartar to our USDA ribeye main dish, we were carnivores that night!  A-woooo!


We went back to Hoan Kiem Lake after dinner.




This part of town is much calmer at night if you know how to get used to the wild motorcycles around the city. Most of the attractions like the Huc Bridge and Turtle Tower were lit up.




Before midnight, we headed back to our hotel to get our first decent rest in the last 3 days. Tomorrow is another big day for us!

Hanoi (Day 2: Halong Bay, Bia Hoi Corner)

– The Tourist Pao